Brush it in
Brush it in is a colloquial expression for a wide variety of alterations made to digital photographs af ter their creat ion. The transit ion from analogue to digital post-product ion yielded an incredible expansion of exist ing techniques. Adobe Photoshop was originally developed as a digital emulat ion of the physical techniques of the darkroom. It quickly developed its own specific vocabulary and it is precisely this language that Brush it in engages with. As digit al image making became ubiquitous within popular culture so did the awareness that these digit al tools of ten had more power for decept ion than the photographic act itself.
An ever secret ive and loosely defined field, digital post-product ion has invariably sharpened the crisis of faith in photographic representat ion. This loss of faith has levelled the playing field; all strategies are at once simultaneously expected and disavowed. The ar t ist s in this exhibit ion are inst igat ing what could be called the beginnings of a post-Photoshop engagement with photography. The critical knowledge produced by their work is the result of a physical and material rehearsal of the techniques and potent ialit ies of fered by the sof tware.
Brush it in also alludes to the digital impossibility of encountering objects within the image saturated landscape of contemporary culture. The inevitable disappointment of mass-produced commodit ies has created a sort of haptic half-life where the image produces more pleasure than the object itself. Darren Harvey-Regan engages directly with this struggle in The Halt (2011), where an axe confronts and at tacks its very representat ion with a violently iconoclastic gesture. Similarly in Relation (2011), an image of a saw is bisected by a ver t ical cut in the print that mimics the tool’s physical potent ial. In Grounds of Doubt (2011), a rock obst inately resist s the flatness of the photographic print, peeling away from the otherwise flawless surface.
In Skew Merge Clone Curves (2012), Joshua Citarella covers mass-produced objects and their background with marbled contact paper, creat ing a repet it iously false surface that alludes to the clone stamp tool in Photoshop. In his most recent body of work Combination Games (2012), he creates complexly fragmented spacial arrangement s that incorporate framing devices, physical objects, digitally created objects and incongruently reflect ing surfaces. His abstract work Intersecting Values of Hue and Brightness (2011) reproduces the spectrum of colour available in the standardised Adobe ‘98 digit al imaging environment.
Antonio Marguet’s Deodorant Games (2011) playfully unpacks the dynamic of desire in promot ional culture. His precariously unstable sculptures-cum-images combine disparate household commodit ies that subtly reference body par ts whilst ent icing a sor t of profane venerat ion. Anne de Vries’ CAVE2CAVE (2010) began with images of ancient cave paint ings that the ar t ist sourced from the internet and then placed in a makeshif t cave made of cardboard. He then laid a wrinkled piece of mirror foil next to the cave and photographed the distor ted cave paint ings, print ing the final image back on mirror foil.
Christiane Feser’s labour intensive process for Konstrukt (2011) involves individually photographing strips of paper, print ing the image, placing new strips over the print, re-photographing and repeat ing unt il the ent ire frame is filled. This process is akin to the layer based hierarchy of the Photoshop document, albeit in a fixed and permanent state. Fleur van Dodevaard’s Study for a Black Nude (2012) proposes a speculat ive figure study into a flat abstract plane, as if all colour values have been reduced to their base chromat ic value.